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yamaguchi were there to join in on the celebration. have a great evening. at last, for an american war veteran held prisoner by north korea for more than a month. the 85-year-old finally freed by his captors. what's behind his release? deadly freeze. tens of millions on alert tonight as two big storms grip much of the country. thousands stranded at airports, hundreds of thousands without power and there is more ice in the forecast. and remembering mandela, we're here in south africa as the country celebrates his life and prepares to say farewell. tonight, we look back at a key moment in the struggle against apartheid, and look behind one of the most famous photos of mandela, taken the day he was released from prison.
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good evening, from soweto on the streets where so much blood was shed in a long and bitter battle against apartheid. streets tonight have been a place of celebration for the life of nelson mandela. much more on that in a few moments. but our top story tonight comes from california, where an 85-year-old american man is home after a seven-week ordeal as a prisoner in north korea. the end of a tense standoff came suddenly, the north korean government saying merrill newman, a korean war vet with a heart condition was released for humanitarian reasons. nbc's mike taibbi is in palo alto with more for us. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. the north korean officers say they deported merrill newman, others say he was freed after a detention that never should have happened. bottom line, the 85-year-old the ex-marine for a trip that lasted much longer than it should have is home.
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it happened quickly without any prior announcement, the flight from pyongyang to beijing, and merrill newman finally able to speak freely. >> i'm very glad to be on my way home. >> reporter: and then after a direct flight to san francisco, american soil. >> it's been a great, great homecoming and i'm tired, but ready to be with my family now and thank you all for the support we got, and very much appreciated. >> reporter: newman had visited north korea on an organized tour but was pulled off his homebound flight october 26th minutes before takeoff and held without explanation but the elderly man who had raised a family and spent a career in corporate finance had a war time effort. as an adviser to korean anti-government civilian forces. on video dated november 9th, the north korean government released an apology that seemed to be written for newman, and then
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another full month of waiting while back channel talks proceeded. the statement from north korea's state news agency taking into consideration his sincere repentance, his advanced age and health condition, the democratic people's republic of north korea deported him from the country. vice president joe biden in south korea for a memorial honoring korean war dead said he had no role in the negotiations but while praising newman's release, added that another american, christian missionary kenneth bae, is still jailed in north korea. >> mr. bae has no reason of being held and should be released immediately. >> reporter: but an elderly retiree with a heart condition is now home looking forward to kicking back. >> i think i'll probably take my shoes off. >> reporter: his wife, lee, so relieved to have him back. >> 42 days is a long time to wait. >> reporter: an end to a time in history which is much more than
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merrill newman bargained for. when asked today if he'd ever return to north korea he said "probably not" and smiled. >> mike taibbi, thank you. deadly weather is making life miserable for millions of people. 11 weather related deaths have been reported. weather channel meteorologist jim cantore is with us from dallas. >> reporter: if you looked at the average temperatures of every spot in this country the average temperature was 14.5 degrees, that's colder than any hour of any day all of last winter. that cold combined with the moisture has created quite a mess, especially in cities like dallas. heavy snow, ice, freezing rain and brutal winds lashed the central part of the country. the south bore the brunt of this brutal weather system. in dallas, and major southern
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cities, temperatures remain below freezing turning sleet and slush to hard ice, up to one inch on some roadways, making everyday drives treacherous trips. >> watch out, everybody, here it comes. >> i've only seen it worse like this in my life. i've been driving for 37 years. >> reporter: hundreds of traffic accidents reported since friday causing extensive delays, closing i-35 several times up to ten hours. >> you try change lanes and you're going sideways. >> reporter: in ohio this public bus lost control and slams right into a parked car but sliding down the rest of the road sideways. across arkansas and texas, utility crews are scrambling to clear ice encrusted power lines, as more than 200,000 customers remain without power. airlines have canceled nearly 1,000 flights today, with more than half of those flying through dallas, stranding 4,000 people. one traveler recorded this cell
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phone video of families forced to spend the night in the airport, on cots and blankets. >> tampa, orlando, i don't care, get me to the state of florida. >> reporter: this satellite time lapse shows the size and strength of the storm, droppings as much as 13 inches of snow in some areas. the arctic air brought dramatic temperature drops. it was a balmy 81 degrees in miami compared to a freezing negative 30 in montana, a difference of 111 degrees. the cold set record lows in las vegas and northern california. in the bay area, four people died from hypothermia, $1 million worth of citrus devastated and now lettuce and avocado crops are in danger. back in the east, a second storm is putting states like virginia on high alert for ice. the northeast next in line. let's talk about this second storm which is producing snow and cold rain in nevada and california.
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it moves out tonight and look at this, this purple area indicates where we expect sleet and freezing rain, some of the same areas that got the sleet and freezing rain from the first storm. we move into sunday, the snow will impact cities like chicago and omaha, nebraska, but it's the freezing rain now for virginia, including the nation's capital, west virginia, ohio and north carolina. on monday that entire mess of sleet, snow and freezing rain moves right up the i-95 corridor into new england for a horrible rush hour. here in dallas we stay in the deep freeze until at least wednesday, when we may get above 40. lester? >> jim cantore, thanks. much of europe has been hit hard by severe weather in recent days, parts of england and scotland were slammed by severe flooding and hurricane force winds forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. it was described as one of the worst storms in more than half a century. it brought snow to other parts of europe, the weather was blamed for the deaths of at least eight people and here in
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soweto, south africa, we have thunder and lightning here that drove people off the streets that were celebrating much of the day. tomorrow is the official day of prayer and reflection here in south africa, part of a ten-day period of mourning over the death of nelson mandela. behind me the house he once lived in, now a museum where crowds gathered throughout the day, many of them old enough to have experienced firsthand the oppression under the white minority government and then their children born into free south africa, all of them today paying tribute to mandela hen ace legacy. richard engel is also in south africa and has more tonight from the current mandela home. richard? >> reporter: good evening, lester. the thunderstorm has also rolled into here in johannesburg. behind me there are thousands of bouquets and tributes, very wet tributes and bouquets in front of the home where nelson mandela died as south africans are coming out and celebrating the life of the man who transformed
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this country. ♪ no one mourns like south africans. ♪ in soweto, where mandela once lived, bans marched today and they danced and sang to celebrate the man who helped end apartheid. ♪ the mandela family also made its first public statement. >> the family will learn from him to appreciate the values that made him the leader that was recognized by all. chief among these is the lesson that a life lived for others is a life well lived. >> reporter: in joe hansberg mandela square they came to take pictures by mandela's statue. >> it makes me proud to be south african. >> reporter: signed books and laid flowers. >> the unity that he brought to
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us all, we love him. >> i brought them because i wanted them to begin to get an understanding of the impact of the human being that nelson mandela was. >> reporter: victims of apartheid brought their children who grew up free of segregation. becky mbata brought his 17-year-old daughter to the mandela center for memory, a museum of his life and struggle, from his letters in neat and tiny handwriting smuggled out of prison to the highlights of the know tell prize. at the memory center there is this glass replica of mandela's cell. it takes just three small steps to cross. for years, mandela didn't even have a bed in here, just a mat on the concrete floor. ♪ ♪ nelson mandela >> reporter: for all the celebration there's also anxiety here. nelson mandela, the nation's most famous son is also for many its founding father. the question is, what will it be like without him?
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tomorrow, that day of prayer, then a massive memorial, and finally the burial itself but lester, it is expected to be wet all week. >> richard engel in johannesburg tonight. mandela had been in prison 13 years when high school students here in soweto launched a protest against the ruling aparthied government. although mandela will remain in prison 14 years the protest marked a turning point that changed the country's direction. one teenage boy and an iconic photo became symbols of a need for change. the young girl is antoinette peterson, the bloodied and lifeless boys in the arms of a stranger is her 13-year-old brother, hector. it was june 16th, 1976, the day the soweto uprising began. >> all of a sudden there was a shot. can you imagine that number running for cover?
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>> reporter: it began as a peaceful protest by high school students against a government policy requiring them to learn in africans, the language of the white minority government. >> students are like no we are not going to fight anyone. we are just going to convey the message. the one written on the plaquard. >> reporter: you had no idea you were in danger? >> not at all. not at all. to us it was a peaceful march, just going to convey our message. >> reporter: but then tear gas followed by bullets were fired at the crowd by police, scores, including young hector, who wasn't even supposed to be there, were killed on that first day. >> you're sort of torn, i could see myself on the other end crying in desperation. the next moment there was a killing, i couldn't believe that happened, it was just disbelief. >> reporter: the march became an uprising and seminal moment in the battle against apartheid. there is a permanent marker on
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the corner where hector peterson died just outside the school. it was no coincidence the student uprising began in this part of soweto, a few blocks from where nelson mandela lived. though he was in prison at the time he remained a huge influence in this neighborhood and his life served as a call to action. >> i think the uprising because of him, because we knew that serving so much years in jail, why are we sitting and folding our arms? let us do something. >> reporter: the uprising would claim hundreds of lives before it was over but it would also severely damage the apartheid government and rally world opinion against it. >> our own self-interests in an africa that lives in piece and racial harmony and our abiding commitment to peace and world order permit us no other course. >> reporter: nowadays, soweto high school students too young to have known life under apartheid visit the hector peterson memorial.
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it was not the current generation's struggle but it is their history. >> i don't think we can forget about it. we try to live with it and make peace and endure, over and above everything else, things are getting better. >> reporter: a testament to the legacies of a young boy and a beloved leader. nelson mandela was honored with a replica statue of that iconic hector peterson photo back in 2006. in hawaii thousands gathered on the anniversary of the japanese attack on pearl harbor. it happened 72 years ago today, the event that launched the united states into world war ii. among those attending today's ceremonies were 50 survivors of the attack that killed more than 2,400 americans on that early morning in hawaii. when "nightly news" continues on this saturday, a pollution emergency in the world's most populous city and the drastic measures being taken to keep people safe. and later she's obviously got talent.
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what's surprising is where this american is showing it off.
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we're back with a healthy emergency tonight in shanghai. the chinese city with more than 17 million people has been suffering through the worst air pollution it has ever seen. our report tonight from nbc's ian williams. >> reporter: the soaring skyline of mainland china's commercial capital was little more than a smudge through the thick smog.
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the tallest buildings disappeared into the smog, many in the city were wearing masks. "i have difficulty in breathing" says 24-year-old zwei ji yu. "visibility is also bad and so is my mood." it's been a week of steadily rising record pollution levels in shanghai that have prompted the highest level of health warning. the concentration of the most dangerous particles reaching 20 times what the world health organization regards as hazardous. "i don't think it's fit for humans to live in this kind of environment" says this man. hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed, schools closed, residents urged to stay indoors and factories ordered to cut off production. ships forced to navigate cautiously through the haze. experts blame the cold windless weather for a cloud of pollution from cars, factories and coal burning that has sat over
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eastern china for most of the week, and there's been record-breaking levels in other cities, including beijing earlier this year. the government has announced many plans to fight the pollution but with little apparent progress. the dense smog in eastern china is starting to lift today but here in beijing it's starting to approach hazardous levels. the east and north of china are particularly vulnerable in winter, and we're really just getting into the coldest month. ian williams, nbc news, beijing. when we come back, the latest test for lindsey vonn as she puts her sights on the olympics.
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the scene today in alberta, canada, as lindsey vonn passed
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one more milestone on her way to the winter olympics in sochi, russia. vonn came in 11th in today's world cup downhill race, a big improvement over her finish yesterday, this is her first competition since tearing two ligaments in her knee last february and another injury last month. and the results are in tonight, after another competition we've been following involving a young american woman who made it to the very end, finishing among the top three in a most unlikely contest. nbc's duncan golestani was watching it all in beirut. >> reporter: she might not have come first tonight but jennifer grout has won hearts across the arab world. to understand why the boston native is happy just to reach the finals of this tv talent show consider the title, it's called "arabs got talent" but jennifer is not an arab nor does she speak arabic. that was clear when she first endorsed. [ speaking in arabic ] >> sorry? >> what is your name? >> jennifer. >> reporter: first the audience
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laughed at jennifer. ♪ then she won them over. >> jennifer, jennifer, jennifer. >> reporter: back stage this week the 23-year-old music grad told me she fell in love with arabic music in college and went to study in morocco. >> i'm improvising. >> reporter: learning songs she didn't understand. >> when i want to hear a song i hear a song and i look up the lyrics online or have a friend write them for me. ♪ >> reporter: jennifer is so good, social media has been full of conspiracy theories about her nationality, but mostly she's winning fans. ♪ in a show full of arabs performing western star acts, jennifer stood out with a passion for old arabic classics. tonight, the judges said she was a phenomenon bridging arabs and the west. her performance watched by family and friends thousands of miles away.
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>> she seems to be keeping it all together and taking it in stride and that's jenny. ♪ >> reporter: jennifer now plans to start recording songs while also learning arabic so she knows what she's singing. duncan golestani, nbc news, beirut. up next here tonight, ann curry with a story behind an iconic photograph of nelson mandela.
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finally tonight let's go back 24 years to a turning point here in south africa, the day nelson mandela walked out of prison a free man. one of the signature images taken that day was by a young american photographer. ann curry has his story tonight. >> reporter: after decades of violent repression under south africa's white apartheid rule, a symbol of resistance, nelson mandela, was suddenly being freed after 27 years in prison. the year was 1990. >> i didn't want to miss this photograph. >> reporter: one of the journalists waiting on the other side of the prison gates was pulitzer prize winner photographer david turnley. >> the gates open and he and winnie mandela walked out with their fists in the area. >> reporter: he was suddenly photographing a spontaneous celebration in capetown. >> there were 150,000 people outside going nuts waiting to see their leader.
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>> reporter: that's when mandela stepped out on a balcony and spoke publicly for the first time since his release. >> i think we've always experienced somebody when you feel like everything's going to be okay. that's how you feel when you're around mandela. >> reporter: years later two young boys climbed onto man tell la's lap and one asked what seemed like a logical question. >> "how could they put new prison for 27 years, you've never stolen anything." in classic mandela way he sort of paused and he said "sweetheart, i actually have stolen something, i stole freedom for our people." >> reporter: you heard him say that? >> it was kind of just one of those moments where as a photographer, the tears start to actually kind of cloud the ability to look through the viewfinder. >> reporter: turnley also witnessed mandela's visit to his old cell on robben island. there he saw the same unwavering dignity and resolve that carried mandela, south africa and the world through the worst of times and the best of times. >> i think there will probably -- a moment where like
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probably all of us will take very deep stock of an incredible loss. >> reporter: ann curry, nbc news, south africa. and that's "nbc nightly news." i'm lester holt reporting from soweto, south africa, good night, everyone. new -- nbc bay area news starts now. we begin with the weather. temperatures are dropping across the bay area right now. a freeze warning will be in effect in a few hours. here is a live look at the bay.
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on the reft is oakland where it is expected to dip into the upper 30s tonight. the freeze warning starts at 10:00 tonight. >> you mentioned it right. we are under a freeze warning in effect not only for tomorrow morning but also extended through monday morning. temperatures will continue to remain at freezing or below that once we hit the overnight hours. it is for every part of the bay area with the exception of downtown san francisco. the good news tonight not going to get as cold as it is going to get tomorrow night because we have clouds building offshore. the clouds will act as insulation. your hour by hour forecast for san jose shows the skies cloud over. sunrise tomorrow you notice temperatures very cold. 8:00 we talk about temperatures climbing threw trr the 30s. the bridges and

NBC Nightly News
NBC December 7, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Nelson Mandela 11, South Africa 10, Jennifer 9, Soweto 8, North Korea 6, Dallas 5, Us 5, Nbc 4, Beijing 4, Merrill Newman 4, Mandela 3, Hector Peterson 3, China 2, Europe 2, Shanghai 2, Lester 2, Johannesburg 2, Hawaii 2, Nbc News 2, San Francisco 2
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